Writing about Unschooling feels risky and vulnerable.
So I want to try it.
I will begin with a quote by Joyce Fetteroll:
The goal of unschooling is not education. It is to help a child be who she is and blossom into who she will become. Learning happens as a side effect.~ Joyce Fetteroll
The first time I heard about the option to homeschool my children was when my oldest child was only 2 years old. I had trained to become a teacher in Germany but knew that it wasn’t the right thing for me. Now I began to think that maybe school wasn’t the right thing for my children either.
I kept reading blogs about homeschooling families (does anyone remember SouleMama?) and was so inspired by them.
One day I was browsing a second hand bookshop and stumbled across a book by John Holt. It was called “Teach your Own” and I was hooked. John Holt said things like
It’s a most serious mistake to think that learning is an activity separate from the rest of life, that people do it best when they are not doing anything else and best of all in places where nothing else is done. p.278~ John Holt, Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling
Of course, a child may not know what he may need to know in ten years (who does?), but he knows, and much better than anyone else, what he wants and needs to know right now, what his mind is ready and hungry for. If we help him, or just allow him, to learn that, he will remember it, use it, build on it. If we try to make him learn something else, that we think is more important, the chances are that he won’t learn it, or will learn very little of it, that he will soon forget most of what he learned, and what is worst of all, will before long lose most of his appetite for learning anything.~John Holt, Teach Your Own (and I got the quote from Sandra Dodd’s website, there are many more good ones)
I also love John Holt’s answer to the following question:
Q. Will they have the opportunity to overcome or do things that they think they don’t want to do?
A. I’m not sure what this question means. If it means, will unschooled children know what it is to have to do difficult and demanding things in order to reach goals they have set for themselves, I would say, yes, life is full of such requirements. But this is not at all the same thing as doing something, and in the case of school usually something stupid and boring, simply because someone else tells you you’ll be punished if you don’t. Whether children resist such demands or yield to them, it is bad for them. Struggling with inherent difficulties of a chosen or inescapable task builds character; merely submitting to superior force destroys it.~John Holt, Teach Your Own
We have been unschooling for 10 years now and I hope to share some of our own experiences here in this space.